Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Lately people have been complimenting the photos on  my blog a lot. It's very kind and I'm most appreciative of their comments. It has made me think about some of my favorite photos here over the years. They appeal to me for different reasons.

I never feel particularly confident of my own photos, probably because my best friend is a professional photographer so I have that to compare my own work to. However, I suppose for someone who's never had any training and has never owned a camera that costs more than a couple of hundred dollars, they're not bad. Here are a couple I especially enjoy:

There are others, but these are some I've run across recently that I like. I posted links to the blogs so you can go back and read if you wish. I certainly understand if you only want to look at the pretty pictures!

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Christmas Past 4

A scene from Christmases past...

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Past 3

A scene from Christmases past... It's one way I'm celebrating this year... I hope you enjoy...

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Who We Are

I'm continually fascinated by how people communicate to the world who they are. We do it through thousands of things - from the clothes we wear and the cars we drive to the way we speak. What we choose to do for a living and how we spend our free time all give clues to who we are. Then there are a million more subtle clues. Of course, none of those tells the whole story - they're just a little bit of the picture.

Sometimes it occurrs to me that I barely know myself, so I'm not sure what I am communicating at any given moment. And, almost immediately, I think of all the time I've spent discovering one thing or another about myself and am astonished I don't know more. But it seems foolish to expect anyone else to know much about me when I'm a mystery to myself in many ways.

It's quite amazing how much we tell about ourselves by things we never even think about. For example, if you didn't know me at all and saw me wearing a vintage pin, you might assume:
1. Either I spend a lot of time hunting for it or I inherited it. (It's the former.)
2. I don't pay much attention to fashion - at least not current fashion. (Although there was a brief few months a couple of years ago when sparkly pins were the "in" thing. But by and large they are not.)
3. I am probably more of a girly-girl than a tom-boy girl. (Most tom boys don't care much for sparkly pins of any sort.)
4. It's likely I have other vintage things in my home because it would be unlikely I'd go to antique stores for only one thing. (I've never bought a new piece of furniture in my life.)

Multiply that over dozens of little things like that and you get a good idea of who someone is.

In fact, in communication theory classes, a common trick of teachers is to ask students twenty questions about the teacher on the first day. Although they're just meeting, the number of questions students can answer correctly is quite high.

Even when we think we're being impersonal, we're broadcasting to the world who we are in a hundred different ways. I suppose the bigger question is how we got to be who we are. That one, I'm afraid, takes far more contemplation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Past 2

I'm going to be revisiting some Christmas joys of Christmases past over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy...
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Teens and Tweets - Emma Sullivan and Governor Brownback and #heblowsalot

So... there's been a little ruckus lately because an 18 year old said something on Twitter about Governor Brownback that his staff didn't like. Her principal demanded she write an apology letter. She has refused.

Regardless of your politics, you should be glad 18 year-old Emma Sullivan understands she has the right of free speech. Her parents or her teachers or someone has done a good job on that one.

Only because people like her have stood up and demanded to exercise their civil rights do we have any. It should not be the role of the Governor's office to try and silence anyone through fear or other coercion, which I can only assume was their intent when they contacted the Youth in Government program about it. Thomas Jefferson said, "Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory."

As citizens, we should be questioning why the Governor's staff felt a need to call the organization involved. I think it's great that they are monitoring Twitter - very smart - but their actions indicate they have little understanding of social media. A little knowledge can be more dangerous than none it seems. They made a very poor decision to take something out of that realm and bring it into another one.

Ms. Sullivan had 65 followers when she sent the infamous tweet with the hashtag "#heblowsalot." Now she has thousands of followers. In addition, her comments are a topic on multiple high-profile sites and national news organizations. People are tweeting their support for her views by using the same hashtag. If the Governor's staff had just left it alone, a few of her friends might have gotten a chuckle and that would have been it.

If I were a parent at Ms. Sullivan's school, I would be mighty, mighty, mighty unhappy with the principal. He instructed her to write an apology letter, providing her with talking points. She has refused, saying it would be insincere. It seems the principal missed an amazing "teaching moment" about civil rights and how best to exercise them. It seems Ms. Sullivan understands how to be appropriate in this circumstance.

Might Ms. Sullivan have said something less intense? Yes. Might the Governor's office have kept it in perspective? Yes. Her comments were not kind, but they were not yelling "fire" in a crowded theater either. She is allowed to express her opinion. Others are allowed to express theirs. Someone could have tweeted back that they were loving the Governor's presentation. They would have had the same right to express that opinion. (The fact that no one did is a little "market research" the Governor's staff might pay attention to instead of being upset about a tweet going out to 65 people.)

We cannot have democracy without free speech. It is part of the constitution. It is a right each of us has. We are allowed to disagree. We are even allowed to do so without respect. That might not be the most productive approach, but it is our right.

I can't help but think about the Pastor Martin Niemöller quote made famous by others in recent years:
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Read more:

The Governor apologized for the overreaction of his staff. He should hire people who understand freedom of speech. And so should the school board.
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Train Case Travel - Vintage Style Updated

Remember these?

There was a time when everyone's Aunt had one. My Aunt Audrey did, although hers was a pearl-colored Samsonite one that I was totally in love with. So much in love that my Aunt Eva found me a child's version and sent it to me at Christmas one year. I still have it. I still love it.

When Aunt Audrey would visit, her Train Case, which, by the way, is what these were officially called, would sit in the bathroom, beckoning me to look inside it, but I didn't dare.

I don't know why they're called a Train Case, but I'm guessing because they were great for use on trains. Back when people actually traveled by train. Back when you couldn't go by air for the same amount of money and days less time. Back when travel wasn't miserable. I remember hearing people talk about that time. I just didn't get to experience it. The TV show, "Pan Am," makes it look so pleasant. They apparently haven't been on a nine hour flight to Paris with their knees digging into the metal of the seat in front of them and their own seat being hammered by a restless five-year-old behind them. Of course, maybe people were just always drunk when you didn't have to buy drinks and people remember travel through the haze of a good buzz. Maybe it was always awful but we just don't have our senses dulled sufficiently now. I think I've hit on a genius idea for the airlines. But, I digress.

Back to train cases... Just the mere phrase conjures pleasant images...

Aunties carried their toiletries in them - even if they were going by car, not train. Maybe by plane, as well. Train cases had a lift-out tray for cosmetics and plenty of space underneath for lotions, potions, hair curlers, and what not. I have to say "what not" because I don't use very many of the things the ladies of that generation did for their daily preparations to meet the world. (Anyone have a hair receiver lying about? On their dressing table? Exactly.)

Well, at one of my favorite thrift stores recently I spotted this gem. It still had the tray inside in pristine condition and the little brown envelope with "key" written on it taped inside one of the tray compartments. I'll let you do the mental math on that one.

I snapped it up for a mere $2.

My initial thought was to put my own makeup in it. But, I quickly determined that wasn't workable for me. Besides, if I gathered up every bit of makeup I've owned in my entire life, this case still wouldn't be full. But, I knew I would find other uses for it and its first foray into the world with me was a few days ago for our trip to see the Johnny Mathis Christmas show.

Are you wondering what I put in it?

Hair spray? No - don't own any.

Shampoo? No - it might leak on this beauty that still has the faint scent of dusting powder in it. I love that smell. Takes me right back to 1953 - even though I wasn't alive them. But, you know what I mean. Do they even make anything called, "dusting powder" anymore. It came in wonderful scents with big, soft, poofy bits you dusted the powder with. (Hence, the name, obviously.)

Delicates? No - I'm not sure what all that encompasses, but suffice it to say there aren't a lot of clothes in my world that are not "wash and wear" and pret a porter. (That's French for ready to wear - and it doesn't really fit here - but I just wanted to demonstrate that I remembered at least one phrase from the multiple semesters of French I took. Maybe I don't remember it from that but from the movies. But lets just say it's from class, shall we?)

Anyway... My train case has...

Computer and electronic widgets and gadgets. It will hold an external hard drive, my digital recorder and microphone, a pair of headphones with a mic for skyping, chargers, cables, pens, notebook, model releases, extra batteries, a tiny tripod, jump drives, and even the camera if I don't want to carry it. I have used one of those organizers for a purse to containerize some of the items, and small bags for others. Although I haven't yet tested this theory, I think it could also hold a tablet, mp3 player, and other similar goodies.

It worked great for this trip, but I haven't tested it on a longer one yet. Obviously, it's something you want to keep up with since it has all those sorts of goodies in it. But, it does offer some protection to them instead of them just bumping around in other bags. And it has the ease of everything being in one place instead of having to hunt for one thing or another.

I'm continually looking for the convenient way to store and access my computer/electronic things. This is the latest permutation. We'll see how it goes long-term.

Regardless, I now own this ultra cool, vintage train case. It's not as cool as Aunt Audrey's was - gosh, I loved that thing - but Aunt Audrey would be proud.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Past 1

I'm going to be revisiting some Christmas joys of Christmases past over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy...

Last Christmas was such a picture postcard perfect day...

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Love it - a tree of books

Go here and see something fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Theme Song for the Day...

In a nostalgic mood today... this song has been running through my head for a few hours. Funny how things like that just get "stuck" and add to whatever feeling you're already having.

"Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days"

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Xmas is Not Leaving Christ Out of Christmas

Xmas is not leaving Christ out of Christmas. In fact, it is the exact opposite. "X" is an abbreviation for "Christ" because it was the first Greek letter of Christ's name.

Constantine's vision that resulted in his conversion to Christianity included the intertwining of the Greek letters, "Chi" and "Rho." We would see them written as an "X" and "P." Because they are the first two letters of the Greek word "Christ," the abbreviation of "X" for Christ, or sometimes "XP," has been used for many centuries.

How this modern idea that it was leaving Christ out of Christmas came along, I don't know. But it is a falsehood that upsets people greatly so every year I persist in pointing out the facts. People have enough stress in their lives. Please don't pass that along and add to it. Instead, take a moment to share the truth with those who do.

Instead of wasting energy being upset about something that is nothing to be upset about, we could do something Christ might do if he were still walking the Earth. We are commanded to take care of those less fortunate. Here are some organizations that I think do a great job of that:

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Traveling with Greg

This past weekend Greg, his mom and I went to Branson to see the Johnny Mathis Christmas show. I took this photo of Greg in the hotel room shortly after arrival. He is a master at making a place his own. Travelling with Greg - and Ace - is always fun.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It's the time of year when Americans pause to give thanks. I love the idea of an entire day devoted to gratitude.

As you enjoy the holiday, whether alone or with family or friends, I hope you find much to be thankful for. Sometimes the struggle is to be appreciative, even if we see things we don't perceive as positive. This year I will practice.

I hope you find much love in your life, and much to be grateful for on this day of Thanksgiving. And I hope you carry the spirit of it into the days beyond this one.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Day in Pictures

Can you guess what I'm preparing to do?

Yes... roll out pie crust!

The tricky part is getting it in the pan. Let it gently find its way into the curves.

You can do something decorative with the edges. I'm afraid this isn't my strong suit. I can make pretty pie crusts, but they're not very good if I work them enough that they're pretty. I think the secret is lard. And I'm not using lard.

There was enough left over to do something decorative on the top, but I didn't.

Mmmmmm... pumpkin pie!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Joplin Tornado Six Month Anniversary

Today was the six month anniversary of the Joplin Tornado that hit in May. I took this photo a few days ago of the remains of St. John with the cross of St. Mary's. Before the tornado I don't think you would have seen them at the same time because other structures would have prevented that vantage point.

It's amazing how much has been accomplished, but it will be a long time before Joplin is back to normal. Heavy equipment is a mainstay at the moment.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011


I was going through some notes recently and found a page where I'd written the following comment:

"Wisdom is not just an accumulation of knowledge. It's a genius. A different sort."

I'm certain I heard someone say this in an interview but unfortunately, I didn't note who. I apologize for not being able to give credit.

I think it is true that wisdom goes beyond just knowledge. And it is truly genius. When I hear true wisdom it always gives me reason to pause, to consider, to think. I know it's something I need to contemplate more fully.

That moment stands apart. It's clear. It's as if the universe is giving you a little space before and after, separating it from the clutter of daily life, so you can recall the moment again and again.

Wisdom is a gift, given freely by those around you. I'm grateful.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kinda Cool

I have to confess that I kinda like looking at my tumblr page occasionally. It is where I try to send everything I do online - photos I post from my phone to Facebook, Tweets, and blog posts. Unfortunately, it doesn't import all the blog posts so there is no where that has a complete picture of "Patsy Online." But, it's kind of fun to look at the snapshots of daily life in that format sometimes.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Lemon Curd and Scones for Creative Sisterhood

Monday night was Creative Sisterhood and I decided to make lemon curd and scones. I'm always on the lookout for the perfect recipe for both.

I have a lemon curd recipe I like that you make in the microwave. However, I find it really inconvenient. You have to take it out every minute to whisk and it's messy and time consuming.

So, I decided to look for a recipe I could make on top of the stove. I made a few modifications and this is what I came up with:

Lemon Curd Recipe

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Cook in top of a double boiler, whisking occasionally as it cooks. Obviously, don't dump hot butter into your eggs or you'll cook them and your lemon curd will be lumpy. You can strain it, but I always consider that a failure if I have to do that. I prefer the taste of it when it is cooked gently. Sometimes people will only use the egg yolks to avoid that problem.

Cook until done - about 12-15 minutes.

I realized I didn't have a double boiler, so I made do with a couple of pans I inherited from my mother's kitchen. It worked just fine.

I love the taste of these scones. I'm a fan of the plain scone - no fruit - just the basic scone. Of course, you could add something to this recipe if you wish.


1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cream butter and sugar. Add sour cream and egg and mix. Add dry ingredients and blend only until mixed for a flaky scone. If you want a more traditional, cake-like texture, mix until totally blended.

Place by small hand fulls onto cookie sheet and mash down slightly into disks about 3/4 inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done.


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stealing Pens

My credit union has these pens in the tube everytime you go through the drive thru. They're so good about it that if you absentmindedly keep the one you use to sign checks when making a deposit, when you send the tube in, and your receipt comes back, there will be another pen in it.

I suspect they are encouraging us to take them and use them and spread their name! It seems I willingly oblige. And I'm not the only one.

Tonight at dinner, I noticed the pen left with the receipt for signature was a Hutchinson Credit Union one. I am curious how many of them they go through in a week, month or year. Obviously, I have absconded with quite a few myself. And, I confess, these are not all of their pens I possess.

The bonus of the whole thing - they're really good pens. Rarely do I use pens that write with black ink, but I do think of these as my "work horse" pens that are tucked into the laptop case, the car, etc. I've had accounts there for so long - and been taking their pens - that I have different styles. There's something disturbing about that but I can't put my finger on it and I'm not going to try too hard.

Thank you, Hutchinson Credit Union. If you really didn't mean for me to take them with me, you need to tell me. And I'll try to stop. Really, I'll try.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


On the auspicious day of 11-11-11 just past, I was listening to a talk show segment about numerology. It's not a new concept to me, but I've never looked at it to any large degree. She explained how to find your life path number and then she listed the basic personality characteristics of each.

Although I had done this before some years ago I didn't remember. My life path number is 7. I'm an observer. This fits me, but so do other categories. Isn't that always the way with these sorts of things.

But I've been thinking about it in the back of my mind since I saw that segment. Today I was having lunch with Trish and our conversation reminded me of a comment I'd heard in an interview with writer, Russell Banks.

He was talking about being a writer and said, "You have to stand on the borders, on the outside looking in. There's no other way around it. You move through but don't belong to any class. You can't belong to any class - you're outside all classes - alienated."

These two concepts are definitely connected to me. It seems Banks summed up the idea of being an observer. Because, of course, you can't observe objectively and also be involved. You have to maintain a distance in order to a true observer.

Much more to think about here...
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"All of art is organizing your chaos."
                                                --- Jonathan Carroll

I heard writer Jonathan Carroll say this in an interview. It's so simple and yet so true.

Creative sorts are filled with angst and chaos, both of which feed on each other. I realize that's a cliche, but that's because it's true. That raw energy is the basic building block of creativity. When you apply some structure to it, you get something other people can relate to. Art.

The trick is being someone who can mold the raw energy into something meaningful. It's so easy to remain in chaos and get nothing accomplished. It's so easy to impose too much organization and get something boring.

Walking the line can wear a person out.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.
--- Charles Evans Hughes

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Jewel Just Sitting There Waiting For Me...

So, there it was... On one of my regular rounds of the various thrift stores I spotted it... Just sitting there... unassuming... surrounded by detrius of various decorating schemes gone awry... It had been waiting for me...

Without hesitation I scooped it up. It was only $1.49. It needed to come home with me.


Well, that is one of the eternal questions, isn't it?

Because it looks cool, of course.

Do I really need to cover my tissues? No.

Truth be told, I really don't even really use tissues. But, once I owned this beauty I had to go buy some. The ones in those smaller boxes, that are more expensive than the larger boxes, so they would fit. It was after I owned six boxes of them (all packaged together) that I realized you apparently take them out of the box to put in the tissue holder. So, I could have just bought one larger box and taken half of them out. Lesson learned. Although, the six boxes I already own may last me another decade or so.

Pity I didn't know how they went into the tissue holder.

Why did I not know?

Because I wasn't alive when this little jewel was in popular usage.

The bigger question might be why I'm continually attracted to things that were popular in the 30s, 40s and 50s, when I wasn't even on the planet.

I don't have an answer for that, but I know this is cool. Enough said.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What Matters

I've been thinking a lot lately about what's really important to me, how I want my days to be, what I want my life to look like.

Some things that are really important to me may not be obvious. High on my list is the house I live in. I like older homes, with lots of space, great woodwork and hardwood floors, but with all the modern conveniences. I have a good deal of that now, but not all of it.

Travel is a huge deal to me. I've been confined the last couple of years and that is something to be avoided in the future. I am just not myself if I have to stay in one place for too long.

That may seem counter intuitive considering that my house is so important to me. But, it's a different thing. Home is where you come to process, to gather your thoughts, to create, to just "be." Then I need to go into the world to gather new thoughts, new experiences with new people and events.

What matters? Who matters? Those seem important questions to answer in order to determine how your life should look.
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tea in St. John Kansas

Sunday Jan and I went to tea in St. John, Kansas. I've been to this tea a few times before. They tell me this may be the last year because they're having trouble getting people to volunteer to make it happen. Things like this that depend on a large volunteer base to not only create the event, but cook the food, are suffering. I think it's all part of us forgetting how to cook.

I'm glad I got to go. It was a Christmas theme this year and we were at a table with a feather tree from Germany, which was nice.

There were carolers, including the lady who seems to be one of the main organizers. She's in the feathered hat in this photo.

The food was a little short on savories, as usual. But, it was beautifully displayed. I cannot imagine making all those gingerbread boys!

There were also displays of nativity scenes and hat pins.

I love going to tea, particularly these kind of community events. I'm always on the lookout for others around the state but they seem to be few and far between.

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The Ephemeral

These little snippets of life seem to accumulate in my world. It's always difficult for me to toss out something like this because it instantly takes me back to a time and place. Even if it's not a particularly memorable moment, I may save something. I occasionally even save a cash register receipt from a grocery visit, just because it's a moment manifested, and I think it will be interesting to run across a few years from now.

I've thought a lot about why I'm attracted to keeping these things and I think it's because they are physical reminders of the passage of the ever ephemeral time. I always battle the idea that time is passing without me making as much of it as I had hoped to. Did that moment just past really live up to its potential?

Time has a way of slipping past without notice. We have routines. We do the same things at the same times with the same people in the same places. This may be absolutely wonderful. If we are living a life that resonates with us, it can be wonderful to be doing that. If we're living a life with a lot of variety, or if we have difficulty keeping memories, we may need the reminders. If we're living a life where the hours are filled with things we don't enjoy we may lament the waste of our time.

There's also the appeal of life being a big collage and these are just bits we can add to the tapestry of it. I know I keep all kinds of things only because they give me a sense of leaving a trail behind me that tells a story. Maybe it's not a story I will tell, but the things left behind have their own story.

It's curious that the word for bits of paper like this is "emphemera" - and they are real reminders of time that is so ephemeral. I suppose I'm not the first person to think of this.
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Monday, November 07, 2011

Writing Advice from Author Lisa Dale Norton

A year or so ago, I attended a workshop with author and teacher, Lisa Dale Norton. Here's the memoir I wrote.

This Thursday, Lisa is doing a free author chat where she'll talk live with people about writing and memoir. If you've ever thought about writing a book, this is a great opportunity to get advice from someone who has two books out from St. Martin's Press.

Lisa is a great teacher, and gives wonderful advice. Here are the details:

DATE: NOV. 10th, 2011
TIME: 5:00PM Pacific / 8:00PM Eastern

How to join:
- click widget below
- use the guest tab (not registered users tab)
- enter your name in the guest field
- click enter button to join

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Church Bazaar, Earthquakes and More

It all started on Friday night with a Facebook message from the woman who grows herbs and other lovely things. She knew I would want to know. She knew I would want these things, just as much as I want things like red ruffled basil. She regularly saw my Facebook photos of pretty, sparkly, vintage things acquired here and there. So when she saw tables laden with these pretties at the church bazaar, she was kind enough to let me know. First was a Facebook message, and she told me had even taken photos for me. Immediately I sent her my phone number and then the text arrived, with a slideshow attached of three photographs of things magpies - and I - would love.

But, as is so often the case in any story, there was an obstacle to overcome.

The beautiful sparklies were a 35 minute drive away, and the sale would start at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. A Saturday I had slated for sleeping in and then cleaning for the arrival of my friend, Wayne, in the afternoon. But, while I considered this dilemma of needing to be in more than one place at a time, I knew Saturday would find me headed east toward the beautiful things.

And so it was.

I was the only one there at 8 a.m. and immediately found the table of pins from the previous night's photograph. I began scooping up handfuls of beautiful things. They were only a nickel or a quarter or maybe a little more because they weren't perfect. Missing stones here and there and bent or broken pin backs made others think they were not worthy of love anymore. But, I have love to give them.

A brief break was required to go and procure more cash to add more pretties to my collection. I returned home with my new treasures and tidied up a bit before Wayne arrived. When I showed him my new things he thought his daughter would love some of them. So, we turned around and went back so he could get some things for her. Of course, I found a couple more things.

Some will find their way into artwork. Some will find their way into ornaments. Some will find their way into the world again, adorning my clothes.

Wayne and I spent the afternoon and evening together, visiting and talking and laughing. Late Saturday we were sitting in the living room, cozy in our jammies, listening to the wind gusts, when the house seemed to move from side to side. Literally, move from side to side. It happened just as a huge gust of wind hit. We thought it must have been a train who's whistle was obscured by the wind. The mirror on the living room wall shook. It continued for about a minute. Only later did I learn we were feeling the earthquake that hit Oklahoma.

Growing up near the New Madrid fault line, I've been in many earthquakes, but this one was very different. It was almost like it was in slow motion, for lack of a better term. But it really did feel like the house shifted east-west. It was odd.

It was wonderful to be with Wayne. There was pie at Carriage Crossing last night, and warmed cinnamon rolls with hot tea this morning, and much discussion about topics large and small. Greg joined us for pie last night and at this morning's flea market.

Oh... did I not mention the flea market and the tea on Sunday? Well, it was a full weekend... more details to follow...

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Friday, November 04, 2011

First Friday - A New Event in Hutchinson

Tonight was the first of open mic nights at Hasting's Hard Back Cafe. It was a really nice event. I popped in for just a little bit but I'm excited we have a "First Friday" event to look forward to each month. This, combined with the art walk downtown on Third Thursday, makes Hutchinson quite the active arts community.

One of the things I love about these events is running into people I know and getting to say hello and visit a bit. Tonight there were people playing I've not seen perform around town before. Very cool.

It was the first time I had ever gotten anything at the cafe. It just hasn't been a place I've thought about going. This put it on my radar.

There were probably 60-70 people there I would guess. It was a very good crowd for a first time out. So happy to see the art scene growing even more. For a town of about 40,000 we have a really active arts community and I love that.

This morning I taught blogging class and it was a great group. I really enjoyed the ladies who were there. I was a bit distracted because my car was parked out front with the driver's side window rolled down. Why, you might ask?

Because when I rolled the window down to get the frost off this morning it wouldn't roll back up. I called my mechanic and he told me to bring it down in the afternoon and he pulled the switch and figured out it was just the lever broken. He flipped it around so a good one is on the driver side and the broken one is on a back window I had disconnected a few years ago because it had a short in it. So, now the broken lever is on the broken window - a perfect solution. For $11.81. I was glad to get that taken care of. And felt really fortunate. This is a prime example of why you need a relationship with a mechanic. I see some baked goods in their near future.

Yesterday after the Dillon Lecture with Cokie Roberts I ran into Sondra, who I haven't seen in ages. She has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks and I've been thinking about calling her but just hadn't. Then, after the luncheon, I looked up and there she was. It was a nice surprise.

The people in our worlds are really important. I'm so thankful for family and friends.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cokie Roberts at Dillon Lecture Series

Author and journalist, Cokie Roberts, spoke at the Dillon Lecture Series today. She talked about various things and I just want to share a couple of quotes that illustrate the gist of her talk.

She said people are continually asking her if today's partisanship is the worst it has ever been and she assured us it is not. The 1850s, when politicians were killing each other in duels, was far more contentious. She said one of the calmest times was the 1950s, and said she has, "Come to believe that time was aberrant." She attributed it to the post-war mentality.

But for today, the answer is straightforward. "In the end, change has got to come from us. Voters have to punish politicians for being partisan," she said.

She explained how redistricting has really increased partisanship. She mentioned speaking with President Bush about it at length. Computers make it even easier to sort voters now and that has affected redistricting even more. But she said, "I am essentially a pollyanna about these things... they go in cycles."

At the luncheon she talked about how the poverty rate now is the highest it has ever been in history. She said people need to realize that cuts for deficit reduction are, "not just waste, fraud and abuse - real people get hurt." She said when we talk about balance we need to remember cuts are real. Priorities matter.

She also spoke about education and how it was the one thing that really gave people a chance in this country. She said, "We no longer have an economy where you can work on a manufacturing company line and have a good middle class lifestyle... The only way you can do that is with an education."

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Tonight we had our first snow of the season. It lasted about an hour and was big, puffy flakes. They were showing up at streaks because of the intense wind. I took this photo through the glass of the front door, but you can see the streaks.

I love snow and it was beautiful to see some. However, it's the first cold and windy day we've had so it seems very cold outside, even though it's not that bad. But, I didn't want to go outside to take a photo nonetheless.

This week and the next couple of weeks I'm teaching quite a few classes at the library. They're all technology related. Today it was computing in the clouds. Tomorrow it's word. Friday it's blogging. It's always fun to watch people discover new, cool things.

I've been developing a new "Patsy Theory" about technology and personality types. When it's more fleshed out I'll be sure and share it here, but it's still taking shape.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dale Hankins to be featured in Hutchinson Magazine

Dale Hankins is a retired nuclear scientist who uses his engineering prowess to create an unparalleled Christmas scene of kids "Going to Grandma's House" by various methods. He builds all the automations and adds a new one each year.

I interviewed him in September for a story in the upcoming Hutchinson Magazine. He gave me a sneak peek of the figure he's working on for this year - Parachuting to Grandma's House.

If you want to take a look at previous years displays, check out the videos from my friend, Greg. He has long recognized Dale's genius!

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